Last summer, my friends Alex and Chrisanne had to put down their beautiful black cat Uhura.
Yesterday, they had to say goodbye to their calico Tatiana. I feel very sad for them. It's not only that I know they loved her and all the ways they shared their lives, but Alex's remembrances of Tatiana reminded me how our dear pets embody so much of our personal history.
They grow up with you or your children, remind you of parents or grandparents, of good times and hard times. They share your home and your house rules, know when it's time for you to get up and time you come home, the people you like and the ones you don't. They are protective and loyal and sensitive and selfish and sweet. They are completely dependent on you. That is a lot to be gone from your life.
Nadia was our last family cat. Named for the gymnast Nadia Comaneci, blond tabby Nadia was very tiny when he was given to my 3 year old nephew Nolen, so the gender was not that obvious. By the time we determined that Nadia was indeed a boy, the name was set in concrete. Too late. No problem though because Nadia was a princess. She never was a tom, always preening and posing and pampered. Everyone referred to Nadia as "she". It was only a problem when we took her to the vet and had to explain.
Nadia was 19 years old when we had to say goodbye. Nolen was 22 years old. We all had our own special relationship with her, it was very hard. Hard to pass the cat food aisle and remember that it seemed she could read because she only wanted a particular brand and knew, as soon as she saw the can, if you were trying to pull a switch on her. Hard to go to mom's house and not see her come to the window and meet me at the door. We still talk about how she would not eat raw fish, only cooked with bones removed, and that she wouldn't eat cat food tuna but liked Chicken of the Sea. It's so amazing to look at family pictures and see the changes of Nadia the kitten and Nolen the toddler.
So it's a lot to be gone from your life. But, it will get better my dear friends. I promise.